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Records flow as Gayle cuts loose

Chris Gayle became the first player to score a century in a Twenty20 international, his 117 run haul came from just 57 balls which included 10 sixes, another record, plus seven fours.

Gayle smashed 117 from 57 balls after the Windies were asked to bat in the opening match of the tournament.

He deposited 10 sixes, another record, plus seven fours and shared 145 for the first wicket, the highest in Twenty20 history, with Devon Smith who made 35.

It was the highest total recorded in a Twenty20 match at The Wanderers ground.

The bright lights and carnival atmosphere even affected the languid Gayle, who skipped out to the wicket like a prize fighter.

Gayle, freed from the pressure of captaincy, flicked Shaun Pollock over mid-wicket for the opening six in the third over and then dished out the punishment to Makhaya Ntini.

A lofted drive straight down the ground was followed next ball by a stupendous towering stroke that soared like a firework into the second tier at long-off.

It prompted a change in the bowling and Johan van der Wath managed to keep the boundaries at bay in his opening over.

Gayle brought up the 50 from the 32nd ball, with Devon Smith understandably unable to match the heroics, contributing only 10.

Morne Morkel restricted Gayle - for about three deliveries - following down the leg-side when the big Jamaican backed away looking to launch another of his missiles.

He was not becalmed for long, and another extraordinary stroke brought him six more, leaning back he sliced it to third man and the altitude helped to just elude the boundary fielder.

It was that rare breed a quiet single that brought up his fifty from 26 balls and at the halfway stage it was 109-0.

The big shots continued amid the dancers in camouflage hot pants in the crowd, and having appeared to damage his arm with another whirling dervish follow through for six, he decided to flick one casually next ball - which went even further.

Smith, finding things difficult, edged in the 14th over but it brought in Samuels, who took allof one delivery to play himself in before swinging his second for six.

But it was all Gayle, another breathtaking shot bouncing off the players' tunnel.

The shell-shocked South African fielders were compelled to shake Gayle's hand when his incredible innings ended with a top-edge straight up in the 17th over.

Had it not been for Gayle, the hosts would have been firmly in the driving seat, with the other West Indies batsmen struggling to adapt to the conditions, although skipper Ramnaresh Sarwan hit a six with one hand in the final over.

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